Linda was up at 5:45 AM and off to the bakery at 6:15. I got up at 6:45 AM, got dressed, and went to the bus to turn on the block heater and Aqua-Hot engine pre-heat loop. I then made coffee and had breakfast, after which I e-mailed Mike (W8XH) to let him know Joe would be here all day today. I then reset the clocks in the two digital cameras.
Joe was at Chuck’s a little before 7 AM to change the engine oil and filter and figured it would take one hour. I started the main engine in our bus at 7:45 AM to warm up the oil and make it easier to drain. I let it run for 20 minutes on high idle, dropped it to low idle for a minute and shut it down. The block will hold heat for quite a while.
Chuck texted me at 8:15 AM to let me know that Joe was on his way to our place and Joe called about five minutes later. He was on our street but called because he wasn’t sure he was in the right place. He pulled in to our first driveway entrance just before 9 and pulled his van up behind the bus.
I had dumped the air in the suspension yesterday when I put the coach up on stands so Joe had me start the engine and air up the suspension as a safety backup should one of the stands fail. I raised it up off of all four stands and then set it back down but quit dumping the air as soon as it was on each stand.
The work for today was routine annual chassis and engine maintenance. Joe needed to have diesel fuel on hand so I drove to the Shell station and bought four gallons. While I was there I picked up a large coffee for him at the co-located Dunkin Donuts.
When I got back from my errand run Joe was already lubricating everything on the chassis and engine that had a grease fitting using the Mobil 1 synthetic grease I bought yesterday. He was starting to generate messy trash so I fetched a large plastic trash bag. He drained the engine oil, removed the old filter, filled the new filter with oil, and spun it on. He then added six gallons of Chevron Delo 100 SAE 40 Heavy Duty Engine Oil that I bought on Saturday. I added 2 to 3 more quarts from the reservoir to use up the oil that had been in there for a while. I then refilled the reservoir as it is very handy for topping up the oil.
Joe removed and replaced both coolant filters while I fetched a bottle of Detroit Diesel PowerCool engine coolant. He added coolant to the expansion reservoir while I watched the sight glass on the side of the tank and told him when to stop. He then had me help him with the secondary fuel filter, which we pre-filled with diesel fuel. Last, but not least, we replaced the filter element in the Racor fuel filter / water separator. Joe installed the new filter element and gaskets and topped off the fuel in the housing before putting the cover back on.
I started the main engine and let it run for 30 seconds to circulate the oil, coolant, and fuel. Joe added a little bit more oil to bring the level up to just over half way between the L and H marks on the dipstick. This is where the engine likes to run and if I fill it to the H mark it will get rid of the extra oil on its own.
With the maintenance on the bus completed we transferred all of the old oil from the drain pan into the one gallon plastic jugs that had contained the new oil and put them back in the 3-jug cardboard boxes for convenient transport. Our local O’Reilly’s Auto Parts store accepts waste oil and filters so I will take them there for disposal. Although I had my own bus work to do I hung with Joe until he was done. I stayed near the bus and trimmed trees when he did not me to assist with things.
Joe offered to come back next year to do our annual service and suggested that we take an extra day to replace as many grease fittings as possible either with better fittings or with small lines running back to one or more conveniently located manifolds. The manifolds would have an input for grease and a valve for each line allowing most of the chassis and engine to be greased without getting under the bus. I must say that I liked the sound of that. It would be a nice upgrade to the bus and would make a good article for Bus Conversion Magazine.
I did NOT have Joe remove driver side front tire so I could get the splash guard off and inspect the area under the tray behind the driver’s seat. I will have to deal with that on my own. I also noticed that the fuel tank was down to 3/8ths so I will have to take the bus out and refuel it at some point and may have to turn off the Aqua-Hot and use the electric toe-kick heaters instead until I can refuel.
Keith called at 1 PM to let me know he would not make it out to mow the grass today. He will be here tomorrow morning, probably for the last time this season. Joe was packed up and on his way at 1:45 PM. He was headed to Chicago where he has a house but has not been there in the last 18 months.
After Joe was done I went to Painter’s Supply and Equipment in Howell to buy POR-15 and the POR cleaner/degreaser. POR is a brand but stands for “Paint Over Rust.” It reacts chemically with rusted metal to stabilize the metal and prevent further rust. I bought a can of spray on rubber material to put over it. The POR-15 was pricey at $33 for a pint, but it is serious stuff and is used by the U. S. Navy.
My next stop was Lowe’s for a foam brush. I picked up a 4-foot length of angle, four U-bolts, two pulleys, some miscellaneous nuts and bolts, and a 100 foot length of 3/8″ polypropylene rope, all of which was in preparation for ham radio projects tomorrow on the small tower. After Lowe’s I stopped across the street at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts store to dispose of the oil and filters. Their parking lot was being seal-coated and I could not get to the disposal bins so I will have to try again tomorrow.
By the time I got home it was 4:30 PM. Rather than start working on the bus I did a little more trimming on the trees by the road in front of the house and then put the yard tools away.
For dinner Linda made a whole wheat linguini with mushrooms, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes lightly sautéed in EVOO. We opened the bottle of Frey Natural Red organic/vegan wine. It was very dry which made it difficult for me judge its other qualities as I do not care for dry wines or wines with noticeable tannins. Still, it went well with the dish and I finished my glass. I don’t think I will ever develop a taste, however, for dry wines and/or wines with a lot of tannins.
After dinner I worked on an article for Bus Conversion Magazine (BCM) about our experience on the Habitat for Humanity build we participated in back in July 2013. The article has been done for a while but the publisher (Gary) had someone (Teresa) proofread it a couple of days ago and she found some minor things that I needed to correct. Gary and I are also discussing whether to split the article into two parts and/or cut down a bit on the number of photos, which currently number about 60. I took a break from 8 to 11 PM to watch television with Linda and then returned to working on the article before going to bed.